All posts filed under: Australia

Sunday’s farmer solidarity march for human rights, not race

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – In the one week it took to organise Sunday’s mass march through Brisbane in solidarity with South Africa’s embattled farmers, four more were brutally murdered. For many in the crowd of over 1,000 people marching from Roma Street to Queensland’s State Parliament House on Sunday, the march was personal. In our group of five, one had recently attended the funeral of an Eastern Cape relative brutally tortured. The elderly woman, a stalwart in her rural community, died of injuries too graphic to relay. Her housemate succumbed to equally severe injuries, and her husband was left for dead – beaten, bound, burnt and gagged. He miraculously survived. My farm connection has more romantic roots. I spent the first few years of my life living on an agricultural college in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands. I later attended the local school, and my boarder friends all came from surrounding farming communities. My German-descent friend, Ute taught me to ride horses on her parent’s farm. My grandfather had been a Karoo farmer, and my dear late …

Middle-Aged Dread

IN MY MOTHER’S ERA, middle-aged mothers were content to be middle-aged mothers. They wore comfortable clothing and would not have dreamed of trying to fit into their teenage daughter’s jeans or befriending her friends on Facebook. There were a couple of ‘glamour pusses’ in the small town in which I grew up – perhaps the local boutique or beauty parlour owner – but on the whole, they were all of similar elk. I don’t remember anyone being particularly reed slim unless born that way, and I don’t recall anyone power walking with weights or hiring a personal trainer to work on their ‘abs’. There were no gym junkies because there were no gyms and a weekly game of tennis was the sociable ‘exercise’ of choice. The more adventurous souls took up yoga when the fad hit town and I recall my nicely rounded mum proudly showing us how she could stand on her head. They settled into middle age with an accepting sigh and laughed off a couple of gained kilos or a midriff that …

A House of History

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA—The humble simplicity of a quaint little wooden cottage in the leafy Brisbane suburb of Kelvin Grove belies its illustrious roots with the source of its building material from one of the world’s densest woods, Darwin stringy bark milled in Napranum, Cape York and salvaged from vast mining tracts in the area. The home’s owner, environmental scientist, Mark Annandale helped run the saw mill in Napranum, Cape York. Western Cape York traditional owners had previously set up a venture, Nanam Tawap Ltd with Queensland Government which included operating the sawmill, a masonry block plant and sand quarry. Under conditions of their lease, mining companies can mine the area with the proviso that existent timber can be cut before mining begins. Approximately 1000 hectares of forest is cleared by Rio Tinto Alcan prior to mining operations each year. Without milling, invaluable wood is burnt and lost for good as this is the cheaper, quicker option. Mark’s idea to build a home from wood salvaged from Cape York has been four years in the making. “I …

Letter in Post for Putin

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA―While the G20 leaders were ensconced in Brisbane’s Convention Centre yesterday, flexing political muscles and espousing views on solving the world’s problems, they may have been better off visiting the City Tabernacle Baptist Church for a rather more honest and sobering take on where the world is at. Surely they would have been enlightened and relieved that former Australian Deputy Prime Minister, Hon John Anderson AO, had the gall to tell it like it is in his message,’Resurrecting Order Out of Chaos‘. (Audio – http://goo.gl/FeCjD5) They would have also been inspired and uplifted by a host of angels―the church choir. And rather than having to mingle with puffed up politicians, they may have rubbed shoulders with some rather interesting characters. Behind me, for example, looking a little flushed and flustered was a delightful young guy with a disarming smile and, it turns out, chutzpah to match. He had just risked arrest by brazenly approaching a ‘cop’ at the Hilton in the hope of hand-delivering a letter to Putin as he left for the Convention …

Happy Campers on Fraser Island

CAMPING is a bit like childbirth, you forget the pain until you go through it all again. The main problem with our family is that no matter how organised we think we are when embarking on a camping expedition, we’re very soon proved otherwise. This is a fact I have come to not only expect, but accept. Our latest mission did, however, have all the potential of a smooth operation. This lay mainly in the recent acquisition of a second hand box trailer so no-one had to endure a two hour journey enveloped in bedding and the occasional cooking pot. Yes, we were well and truly ready for Fraser Island. So we thought. The truth is, our camping is too sporadic to be truly organised. Years may lapse before we say yes to the pleas of friends and our children who are now old enough to toss around guilt-inducing comments such as: “We never do anything exciting.” So, the preparation began. Probably not soon enough, now that I think about it. I did Google a …

Liar, liar, your pants are on fire!

It’s local election time again in Queensland and politicians are out kissing babies, riding on tractors and planting trees. In other words, they’re trying to pull the wool over our eyes. They are also resorting to smear campaigns, digging up every last little nugget they can to try and convince an embattled public that they are the more deserving candidate. It’s ugly out there. And how out of touch they are. Exactly how short a memory do they think we have? When is Anna Bligh going to stop dining out on her tearful flood speech ie. “We are Queenslanders…” I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it. I’ve witnessed her poisonous vitriol in parliament  – I tend to think people show their true colours under pressure and that, she did, going as far as suggesting her opponent, Campbell Newman was destined for jail on account of his business dealings. Another thing, Anna, I ‘aks’ you with tears in my eyes … please learn how to say ask. You’ve had enough practise by now. I get that …